Grant Shapps has said the UK is “not inadvertently doing something which escalates this war in a way that would be unacceptable to the entire world” as he seemingly confirmed a deal with Poland to supply fighter jets to Ukraine is off.
The transport secretary told Sky News that all NATO partners “work together” on the situation in Ukraine, adding: “It is important that we are a defensive organisation which means we won’t be getting directly involved in the war.”
Live updates as Polish fighter jet plan rejected
He said a reported deal to loan fighter jets is “not something which is going to develop”, but that the UK “are providing huge amounts of support”.
Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he would support a decision by the fellow NATO member to supply MiG-29 jets to Ukraine – but that it would have to be their choice.
Mr Wallace is due to update MPs today on the support being offered by the UK to the Ukrainian forces.
Mr Shapps also confirmed to Sky News that some 760 visas have now been granted to fleeing Ukrainian refugees enabling them to come to the UK, with 22,000 applications “on their way through”.
The transport secretary defended the UK’s record on providing an escape route for Ukrainians and insisted that the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not want his countrymen travelling too far from their homeland.
“No country has given more humanitarian aid to Ukraine than the UK, in the world. We have given £400m, in addition the British people have been incredibly generous as well,” he told Sky News.
“Geographically we are, of course, spaced further to the West and President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government have told me that they do not want people to move far away, if at all possible, from the country because they want people to be able to come back.
“We are really leaning into this, at the same time respecting Ukraine’s wishes, the government’s wishes, not to pull people a long way away from Ukraine.”